It’s Not Just Sao Paulo — Much of South America and Caribbean Swelters Under Extreme Drought

In Sao Paulo today, a Latin American megalopolis that is now home to 20 million people, public water supplies are cut off for as long as three days at a time. But despite this draconian rationing, the Cantareira Reservoir sits at 9 percent below dead pool. A level so low that utility managers had to install new pipes into the reservoir bottom to tap water supply dregs. A controversial policy due to the fact that drawing water from so low in the pool both results in fish kills and in much more polluted water going into rivers (like the foaming Tiete) and the drinking and bathing supply.

Cantareira Reservoir bone dry

(The Cantareira Reservoir has been bone dry for more than a year and a half now. Severe water rationing has managed to keep levels about steady for the time being. Image source: UOL.)

At least the dramatic cuts in water usage appear to have slowed to a near halt further water declines from the key reservoir. Levels have remained at around -9 percent below dead pool volume ever since the rainy season ended two months ago. But Sao Paulo still has at least four months of dry season ahead. And the weather for Brazil’s largest city, for most of Brazil itself, for Colombia and for the Caribbean remains exceptionally dry.

Drought Extends Over Much of South America, Caribbean

Much attention has been paid to the Sao Paulo drought. This is likely due to the very dire water situation immediately threatening 20 million people with severe water rationing, increased risk of waterborne illness (see Dengue Fever strikes Sao Paulo), and spurring migration to less water stressed regions. But the quiet truth, less widely reported, is that a massive swath of Latin America is also suffering major drought.

Latin American Drought

(South American precipitation deficits and surpluses over the past six months shows widespread, severe drought. Image source: NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.)

The drought centers over the tree-depleted and human settlement invaded Amazon Rainforest. There half year moisture deficits are in the range of 400 millimeters or greater (16+ inches). A level of extraordinary drought in a region that supplies critical moisture to the surrounding states and nations. Years of clear cutting, slash and burn agriculture, and ramping temperatures due to human-caused climate change have taken a terrible toll on the Amazon. Now its resiliency is compromised with drought a common-place occurrence even as hundreds of wildfires burn away at the forest understory every year.

The warming climate (greenhouse emissions based), the water cycle disrupting clear cutting, and the fires all take their toll, resulting in a declining rainforest health and related moisture levels. The worst years of all are El Nino years — when warming Equatorial Pacific waters enhance drought potentials all throughout the Amazon of Northern Brazil. And the 2015 El Nino is no exception, with worsening drought conditions building at center mass over the Amazon River Basin and its related rainforests.

Prevailing and intensifying drought in the Amazon has far-flung impacts. The region acts as a kind of atmospheric moisture reservoir — sending out streams of flying rivers toward the North, South and East. In this way a healthy Amazon rainforest pumps up the clouds over vast regions, enabling rainfall from Colombia to the Caribbean and throughout Brazil. But an ailing, warming, drought-sweltered and clear-cut rainforest loses its ability to send out flying rivers. Instead, it dries out at its heart.

Amazon Water Vapor

(Often visible from the air, the trees of the Amazon release vast clouds of water vapor into the air. These ‘flying rivers’ are now drying up as the Amazon is warmed by human climate change, burned by understory fires, and clear cut by human development. Image source: Climate News Network.)

For some places in Colombia, this has meant residents suffering through drought for more than three years. In La Guajira, some residents are suffering loss of life due to lack of water and related food stores. The situation is complicated due to the fact that most of the water from depleted aquifer supplies for the region now goes to industrial uses like irrigation-fed international farms or the largest open pit coal mine in the world. This leaves very little water left for residents and what supplies remain are often brackish and polluted.

In the Caribbean, more than 1.5 million people are now affected by drought with many also facing severe water rationing. Water shortages, withering crops, dead cattle, and disruption to tourism has impacted far-flung island nations from Puerto Rico to St Lucia to Cuba to the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, the situation is rapidly worsening with civil engineers stating that many of the island nation’s towns have less than thirty days of water left. Reports from other regions like Haiti are more spotty but indications are that these are also heavily impacted (Haiti is terribly deforested and, as a result, has very little resiliency to any form of extreme weather).

With El Nino still ramping up and with global temperatures likely to continue to hit new record highs (due to the heating effect of excessive fossil fuel emissions and CO2 levels hitting above 400 parts per million [above 480 CO2e] for the first time in at least 3 million years) throughout 2015, drought conditions for the Amazon, for Brazil, for Colombia and for the Caribbean will likely continue to worsen for at least the next six months. And to this point it is worth re-stating that crushing drought conditions are not confined to Sao Paulo but instead range from Uruguay through Brazil, Venezuala, Colombia and on into much of the Caribbean Island Chain.

Links:

Brazilian Drought Woes

The Tiete River is Foaming With Pollution

UOL

SABESP

Dengue Fever Strikes Sao Paulo

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

Tropical Forests Release 2 Gigatons of Carbon Each Year

The Amazon’s Flying Rivers are Drying Up

Climate News Network

Drought and Corruption Result in Loss of Life in Columbia

Caribbean Facing Worst Drought in Five Years

Hat Tip to Greg

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

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122 Comments

  1. Wharf Rat

     /  June 26, 2015

    Are We Headed For Global Warming Collapse?

    by Ron Patterson Posted on 06/26/2015

    This is the first of several posts I will do on Global Collapse. I am not saying, right here anyway, that civilization as we know it will collapse, but I am asking the question: “Can collapse be avoided?” This post will deal with global warming and the associated climate change.
    http://peakoilbarrel.com/are-we-headed-for-global-warming-collapse/#comments

    Reply
    • Wharf Rat

       /  June 26, 2015

      fair is fair; I’m posting your post at Ron’s, too.

      Reply
    • I’d say collapse can be avoided. But we really need to all work together starting yesterday. Will we do it? I guess there’s not much precedent for human beings all working together to help others. And the exploitative types really do seem to have a handle on the reigns of power these days. But what have we got to lose by trying? Or to put it another way, if we don’t try it’s almost certain that we’ll basically lose everything.

      Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  June 27, 2015

      Warf,

      was that your post / blog? Very good read, thanks. Left a comment.

      Cheers.

      Reply
      • Wharf Rat

         /  June 27, 2015

        Ron is pretty much the go-to spot for the people who hung out at the Oil Drum. Most of the posts are about oil/gas, but peak oil and AGW are “the twin horses of the apocalypse”, so the comments often are about AGW. It does have its share of deniers.

        Reply
        • I remember well The Oil Drum days. Ron’s a good guy. Although I’ve become more and more convinced that peaking fossil fuels is absolutely necessary and not something to fear so much as hasten.

  2. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi) and commented:
    The map shows that no country in South America is unaffected.

    Reply
  3. Reblogged this on jpratt27.

    Reply
  4. climatehawk1

     /  June 27, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  5. Rodrigo

     /  June 27, 2015

    Another excellent post, Robert. Just one nitpick on a typo. The country of Colombia has 2 “o’s” Colombia.

    Reply
  6. Greg

     /  June 27, 2015

    Well written Robert. It might be added that one place’ s drought is another’s deluge:
    “Beginning a year ago … a phenomenon called “atmospheric blocking” transformed that wind pattern. Marengo, a senior scientist at the Brazilian National Center for Early Warning and Monitoring of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN), likens this to a giant bubble that deflected the moisture-laden air, which instead dumped about twice the usual amount of rain over the state of Acre, in western Brazil, and the Bolivian Amazon, where Cartagena lives.” Also more on current drought in Tanzania and elsewhere in this article from today. Apologies if posted already

    http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/26/1396752/-Drought-s-Not-Just-a-Cali-Thing-It-s-All-Over-Common-Denominator-is-Climate-Change

    Reply
  7. Ralph

     /  June 27, 2015

    I see the equatorial sea surface temperature anomaly near New Guinea has plummeted deep into negative territory over the last couple of weeks.
    As far as can I understand, the El Nino system depends on the equatorial pacific temperature dipole: the “Walker” atmospheric circulation being sensitive to both raised ocean temperatures in the east and lowered ocean temperatures in the west.
    So off we go, the current El Nino set in for the rest of the year, with an abnormal super charged event a real possibility.
    Presumably, eventually cooler-than-usual western temperatures will travel as an upwards (cold) kelvin wave across the pacific, bringing the El Nino to an end.
    But the current situation is far from that, and the west-to-east propagation takes many months, in the meantime the extremely warm western ocean temperatures will dominate much of the worlds weather.

    Reply
  8. Dear Robert, thanks for this great article. Although I agree with most of it, a bit of nuance needs to be added to the Sao Paulo area drought. While unofficial rationing has taken place for millions in the Sao Paulo metropolian area for more than a year now, the 3 day cut per week was never implemented and unseasonally high rains in February and March and even rains now in the middle of the dry season have left the situation short term without dramatic cut offs. The main reservoir Cantareira has risen from it’s low point of 4,9% of capacity to around 19% and has been more or less stable for weeks. Non the less the outcome in the long run is extremely worrying. I follow the detailed news on the water situation on this site http://noticias.r7.com/brasil/seca-historica almost daily. Please take a look, it is in Portuguese, but that should not stop you from understanding it with modern tools. Kind regards, Rob

    Reply
    • Rob. Sorry to say that some of this is misinformation. And I think the use of the word ‘nuance’ here is highly inappropriate. It’s this same ‘nuance’ that São Paulo politicians used to deny the immediacy of the problem, to fail to reasonably respond. I can see that this corrupt and irresponsible attitude remains as such officials continue to speak in ways that betray a lack of serious focus — covering up failures rather than taking needed action.

      We’ve had eyewitness reports from São Paulo as well as numerous news reports identifying users who’ve had water supplies cut for up to three days. And to call the slightly above average rains of February and March unseasonably high is a bit of a misnomer to say the least. As we can clearly see in the NOAA representation, the region is still negative water supply over the past 180 days. Finally SABESP changed Cantareira data to include previous dead pool volumes in its new water totals. My statement that the reservoir is 9 percent below the previous hard line is therefore accurate and it will stand.

      Reply
      • Isn’t it sad that we have to work so hard just to obtain accurate information, when that information is inconvenient or threatens the status quo? Wether it’s the total media blackout of all things climate change here in the US (although the effects are always top stories, but never tied to the real cause of record extreme meteorological events) or manipulation of water statistics and denial of shortages in Brazil, or the anti-renewable propoganda in Australia by their leader, it seems that as business as usual becomes ever more unsustainable those currently profiting under a fossil fuel based regime are becoming ever more desparate to ignore or suppress early signals of breakdowns in the system. Thank you for truth and accuracy, Robert.

        Reply
  9. Flood-hit Cameroon to demolish low-lying urban homes

    Climate change and unregulated housing development are to blame for the devastation brought by floods that have so far killed at least 4 people and forced more than 80,000 from their homes in Cameroon’s economic capital, experts say.

    http://www.trust.org/item/20150626120755-383uz/?source=fiOtherNews2

    Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Study: Weather patterns that bring heatwaves happening more

    Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis, for example, hailed the work as thorough and “consistent with expected changes associated with a rapidly warming Arctic.”

    This shows that it’s getting harder to separate daily weather patterns from long-term changes from global warming, said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd, who wasn’t part of the study.

    Link

    Reply
    • Francis, as usual, is spot on. Great to see you back, Bob. You hanging in there?

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2015

        Been working on the house.

        Reply
      • Robert In New Orleans

         /  June 28, 2015

        So Bob, are you adding roof armor to protect from cantaloupe sized hail or ablative wall tiles to protect from wildfires?😉

        Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Analysis shows increased carbon intensity from Canadian oil sands

    The research, which was conducted in collaboration with Stanford University and the University of California at Davis, shows variability in the increase of greenhouse gas impacts, depending on the type of extraction and refining methods. But generally speaking, fuel extracted and refined from Canadian oil sands will release approximately 20 percent more carbon into the atmosphere over its lifetime than fuel from conventional domestic crude sources.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Thousands of people killed by extreme weather in 2015 as El Nino arrives to bring more chaos

    Thousands of people have been killed by extreme weather so far this year and now scientists fear a weather event will cause droughts, wildfires, flooding, landslides and food shortages.

    Australian scientists have warned of a “substantial” El Nino effect that started in May.

    The phenomenon,which only happens every few years, is still in its early stages but has the potential to cause extreme weather around the world, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

    Link

    Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Researchers pinpoint massive harmful algal bloom

    UW research analyst Anthony Odell left June 15 from Newport, Oregon, aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research vessel Bell M. Shimada. He is part of a NOAA-led team of harmful algae experts who are surveying the extent of the patch and searching for “hot spots”—swirling eddies where previous research from the UW and NOAA shows the algae can grow and become toxic to marine animals and humans.

    “The current bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia spp., the diatom responsible for domoic acid and amnesic shellfish poisoning, appears to be the biggest spatially we have ever observed,” Odell said. “It has also lasted for an incredibly long time—months, instead of the usual week or two.”

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  14. Greg

     /  June 27, 2015

    This was news to me that in this interview with Bill Maher EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated that she had, prior to the release of the Pope’s Encyclical, met with his advisors in Rome. That is good indicator of how deep the advise was before its release and the administration’s efforts to influence the conversation. Thanks to Peter Sinclair:

    http://climatecrocks.com/2015/06/27/bill-maher-interviews-epa-chief-gina-mccarthy/

    I love her characterization of Deniers as not normal people. Man that riled them these last few days.

    Reply
  15. synaxis

     /  June 27, 2015

    Quite a comprehensive article in today’s Independent (UK):

    “Thousands of people killed by extreme weather in 2015 as El Nino arrives to bring more chaos”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/thousands-of-people-killed-by-extreme-weather-so-far-in-2015-as-climate-change-feared-to-bring-more-heatwaves-hurricanes-and-floods-in-future-10345883.html

    Reply
    • synaxis

       /  June 27, 2015

      Oops, just noticed that Colorado Bob had also posted a link to this one.

      Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Gujarat’s Amreli battles worst flood in 90 years
    RAJKOT: It’s a scene of complete devastation in Amreli, which has been ravaged by the worst floods in 90 years.

    Almost 600 out of the total 838 villages of the district are inundated and a massive rescue and relief operation has been launched by the state government, the Indian Air Force (IAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to shift stranded people to safer locations.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 27, 2015

      Mumbai came to a standstill last week when torrential showers closed trains and led to a breakdown in public services. The financial capital received nearly 907 mm of rain between June 11 and 24, 155% above normal for the entire month of June.

      Link

      Reply
  17. james cole

     /  June 27, 2015

    I am so glad to see this post filling in the details of South America! I recently returned from an extensive visit to Argentina, visiting a family member living there for work. Anyways, I can confirm that drought is active in a number of places in Argentina. The coast, south east of the capital, with lots of beach resorts, that area has dried out a great deal. The South East tip of Patagonia is drying up fast. We also visited a desert area where Argentina has extensive oil and gas wells. I do not believe it is fracking, I think it’s conventional. West of Comodoro Rivadavia on the coast a drive inland to a desert valley is full of production rigs. That whole area is in a drought.
    But it looks like Argentina is lucky so far, I mean Brazil looks awful on the map. Argentina seems to be on the fringes of the real drought affecting the north.

    Reply
  18. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 27, 2015

    Robert Kennedy Jr.

    “Whenever you see large-scale environmental injury you will also see the subversion of democracy. The two things go hand in hand. They always do.”

    Reply
  19. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 27, 2015

    Wow,

    Check out the smoke over the NWT from the Alaska fires.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2015-06-26/6-N71.25853-W136.60466

    Reply
  20. Griffin

     /  June 27, 2015

    Very good read from SKS as to how our warmer atmosphere has disrupted the patterns in which storms dump their rains. It is not just that they are holding more water, but that they are releasing this water in more concentrated bursts. Huge implications for urban drainage systems.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/warmer-storms-more-flooding.html

    Reply
  21. -Permafrost pressure

    Beneath the permafrost, fountains waiting to burst forth

    While tightroping on tussock heads in a bog off the Chandalar River, two companions and I heard a waterfall. Strange.

    Looking through binoculars, we saw a knee-high fountain of clear water in the tundra. The flow was as thick as your leg. We squished over to investigate.

    They theorized that we had seen the effect of high-pressure groundwater finding a way through permafrost.

    Permafrost pressure

    Dan White is a hydrologist by trade who wears his Xtratuf boots less often now as the University of Alaska’s vice president of academic affairs and research. He thinks the hydrant may be an artesian well pressurized by a permafrost barrier.

    Reply
  22. Bill H

     /  June 27, 2015

    Thanks, Robert, for keeping us informed on the South American drought in the face of the MSM news blackout on the subject. I had BBC radio news on in the house this morning: wasn’t paying attention , then happened to hear the words “Sao Paulo” mentioned – suddenly paid full attention – maybe they’re getting the message?

    Er, no, the news item was about the banning of Pate do Foie Gras in Sao Paulo’s restaurants.

    UNBELIEVABLE.

    Reply
  23. – There is much about the black bitumen asphalt paste we have covered our landscape in that will haunt us.
    – “To be a liquid, or a solid, in a hot world?”

    – PNW

    Hot enough? Highway northeast of Seattle is melting

    Portions of U.S. Highway 2 northeast of Seattle are melting due to hot weather and heavy traffic, and state highway officials’ attempts to repair the melted sections aren’t holding up, The (Everett) Daily Herald reports.

    The stretch of highway affected by the melting is limited to an eight-mile stretch between Monroe and Gold Bar, state officials said.

    Heat combined with pressure from hot tires have caused the asphalt to separate into a gooey mess, allowing the oil to rise to the top of the road and the gravel to sink to the bottom.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/06/hot_enough_highway_northeast_o.html

    Reply
    • – Oh, and I am reminded some of Santa Barbara’s ‘sticky’ experiments with urban asphalt.

      Reply
    • – Again, trouble is brewing for biota burdened by what we have covered our landscape in — just for our FF-ing cars and trucks. Know to that this type of radiant heat tends to heat up any aerosol contaminants (VOC, etc.). Heat often increases volatility.

      – June 24, 2015 Sizzling Savannah heat putting younger trees at risk

      With an increased number of days with triple-digit temperatures in June and a smaller amount of rain, the importance of watering new and young trees has increased across the Savannah area.

      Not only have temperatures been unseasonably warm, but also trees closer to the asphalt experience ambient temperatures (the temperature immediately surrounding an area) up to 20 or 30 degrees warmer than the normal air temperature because of the asphalt’s heat radiation.
      http://savannahnow.com/news/2015-06-24/sizzling-savannah-heat-putting-younger-trees-risk

      Reply
  24. – One more on asphalt, if you please.
    – From a few years ago:

    Résumé / Abstract

    Heat flux at the air/ground interface was observed and analyzed for various pavement materials on summer days. The surface temperature, heat storage and its subsequent emission to the atmosphere were significantly greater for asphalt than for concrete or bare soil. At the maximum, asphalt pavement emitted an additional 150 W m-2 in infrared radiation and 200 W m-2 in sensible transport compared to a bare soil surface. Analyses based on a parallel layers model of the atmosphere indicated that most of the infrared radiation from the ground was absorbed within 200 m of the lower atmosphere, affecting air temperature near the ground. With large difference between air and ground surface temperature at noon, the rate of infrared absorption by the lower atmosphere over asphalt pavement was greater by 60 W m-2 than that over the soil surface or concrete pavement, a figure comparable to the absorption by turbulent transport.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2964741

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Pakistan Heat Wave Kills More Than 1,200; More Dangerous Heat Expected

    More than 1,200 people are dead in Pakistan’s deadliest heat wave on record with even more extreme heat on the way. …………………………………
    “It appears the heat is intensifying again this weekend over the south, and also expanding back into the heavily populated Punjab and northern Pakistan,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

    “An even hotter period is expected in those northern areas during the first few days of July.Where the heat and humidity intersect over the middle and lower Indus River valley, heat index values will continue to reach the 130s over the next week or more, and may exceed 140 degrees at times.”

    Link

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2015

    Western Heat Wave Intensifies; One June Record Already Broken, All-Time Records Threatened (FORECAST)

    A torrid heat wave is now shifting into high gear and has already broken at least one June record high in the Northwest. Additional June or even all-time high-temperature records will be in jeopardy across parts of the Great Basin and Northwest for the rest of the month. Furthermore, the extreme heat is likely to last well into early July and may end up breaking records for longevity as well.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 27, 2015

      Compared to what the more arid Great Basin is used to, evening and overnight temperatures will be slow to drop, bottoming out in the 70s in the hottest locations. In that regard, the air mass moving north into the region already has a strong pedigree; Las Vegas recorded a low of 91 on Friday, marking the first time Vegas has ever recorded a daily low in the 90s during the month of June. (The previous record-warm daily low in June was 89 on June 29-30, 2003.)

      Saturday morning’s low at Portland International Airport was 71 degrees; if that holds through the rest of Saturday, it will be the first time PDX has ever recorded a low in the 70s in the month of June.

      Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  June 28, 2015

    I’m making a list , and I need a little help –

    All those decades ago when the hypothesis was first proposed , there were some key predictions made. And as we all know, a hypothesis makes predictions to support the under laying question.

    If man increases the Co2 in the atmosphere, the following should happen:

    That precipitation events would come in ever more tense events, and last longer.
    That night time low temperatures would increase.
    That “wet bulb” temperatures would increase.
    That heat waves would get hotter, come more often, and stick around longer.
    That the great ice sheets would begin to melt.
    That permafrost would begin to thaw.
    That droughts would become more intense.
    That the oceans would become more acidic

    Feel free to add to list , because the hypothesis made an entire host of predictions.

    And not one of them, has not been observed.

    That’s pretty good for a scientific “hoax”.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 28, 2015

      That sea levels would rise faster due to thermal expansion.

      That the strongest storms would grow stronger.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  June 28, 2015

        That the Arctic would warm faster than other areas of the globe.

        Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 28, 2015

      That the sea levels would, on average, rise.

      Reply
      • That Alpine life forms would migrate to higher elevation; those then at the highest elevation may disappear.

        Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  June 28, 2015

      Glaciers would recede thereby reducing river levels in the summer

      Groundwater would be tapped more due to low river levels

      Sub-Glacial Lakes would increase, thus increasing risk of outbursts

      Lifeforms would migrate towards the poles

      Low lying areas would suffer erosion and suffer from salt water intrusion

      Human migration would increase

      Reply
    • wili

       /  June 28, 2015

      That nights would warm faster than days, winters faster than summers, poles faster than the equator, and the troposphere faster than the stratosphere.

      Reply
    • That invasive species would spread to areas that warmer temps allow

      That alpine species would move upwards in elevation (while they can)

      That record hot temps would outnumber cold records, and that the gap between the two would increase

      That coral reefs would see more frequent bleaching events, and begin to perish from the change in ocean temp/chemistry

      That global food prices would rise as a result of extreme weather events and loss of production

      That warming from humans would trigger natural feedbacks that further enhance/accelerate warming

      That food/water stress would lead to social instability and breakdown of cities, states and nations (I’m thinking the drought that fueled the uprising in Syria)

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  June 28, 2015

        That humans would wake up to what they had done too late to avoid catastrophe.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  June 29, 2015

        Yes, feedbacks…don’t get me started!

        Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  June 28, 2015

    That precipitation events would come in ever more tense events, and last longer.

    The over looked part of this is hail. Baseball hail , Every storm today over your home can make Baseball hail . Hail damage is the number one insurance loss in the US. If this increases everyone pays more for insurance. And Baseball hail killed cattle in the Dakota’s this week.

    Why I watch this :
    As storms grow taller , and they are . Hail grows larger. This is like hurricanes venting heat to the top atmosphere.

    No one has ever done a paper on this , I wish the insurance people would do this. Because baseball hail will ruin all our lives , and it comes with storms that take the roof off your house.

    This is happening now.

    Reply
    • New fire stats in for AK today. Another 270,000 acres burned over the last 24 hours. That puts us at 1.2 million.

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 28, 2015

      CB- Claims for hail were up 84% between 2010 and 2012 as published by the insurance industry. South Dakota in 2010 saw the largest hail yet, almost a 2 pounder and 8 inches in diameter. 2012 was the worst year ever and then it dropped in 2013. Not sure about 2014:

      https://www.nicb.org/newsroom/news-releases/hail-damage-claims-in-the-us

      “The nation has experienced severe storms (wind, tornado, hail) that are occurring with more intensity and affecting more areas of the country.”

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 28, 2015

      To me this is THE Video that captures the danger of the new normal and serves as a reality check and a metaphor for the near future. How little time we have to respond to change and impending danger. In this case it is boggling that beach goers are lying around relaxed and then only 45 seconds later are realizing their lives are in danger:

      Reply
      • That video sums up climate change in general. One day soon the weather will be so extreme, and crop/property damage and loss of life so severe, the idiot public will suddenly realize that the climate IS changing to something beyond what we can tolerate. We should have listened to those decades of warnings by the world’s smartest people instead of obsessing about celebrities, shopping for crap made in China and other trivial bullshit. The general public deserves what’s coming. It’s just tragic and heartbreaking that they will destroy the majesty of the biosphere and take down civilization with them.

        Reply
      • Ryan,

        Worst case: The survivors will be living under bridges, in concrete bunkers and underground.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  June 29, 2015

        Ryan, I fear they will not deal with facing climate change but jump straight to “It’s God’s wrath and only God’s chosen will end up in paradise”. In other words, no one has to actually do anything or take any responsibility! Of course, they will continue to annoy us all with spending their time cussing at all the last minute draconian policies we are forced to enact to adapt and let’s not forget those dang insurance companies for raising their rates so much. Excuse me while I pray for rain now and maybe a little relief from all this heat.

        Reply
        • That’s what they’ve been doing for a while now. You’d think the Pope has taken away a good amount of their plausible deniability, though.

    • Apneaman

       /  June 28, 2015

      CB, that wild fires would increase in number, intensity and the season would start earlier.

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 29, 2015

      CB, Just last week in South Dakota livestock died from softball sized hail:

      http://www.weather.gov/unr/2015-06-19-storms

      Look at the back window of car in the photos

      Reply
  29. Robert in New Orleans

     /  June 28, 2015

    As usual the MM will lowball the the danger of hail until a day comes when a major American city is hammered by softball sized or larger hail stones with mass casualties occurring😦

    Reply
  30. Greg

     /  June 28, 2015

    How perfect that Google needs/wants one of the largest coal power plants in the nation, slated to close this year, to turn into one of its huge power hungry data centers and do so with renewable energy. FU Coal. Good riddance. And the people of Alabama will benefit enormously along with the rest of humanity.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/25/3673875/google-coal-data-center-is-coolgle/

    Reply
  31. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 28, 2015

    A terrifying sobering article about fracking and it’s effects on those in small towns, especially pregnancies.

    ==================================

    Exposure to it has killed a number of rig workers over the past few decades. In high enough concentration, just one breath is enough. In much smaller amounts, H2S can cause miscarriages — and the amounts Young says she found were more than 7,000 times the EPA threshold for safety.

    “I know I have to call somebody, but who?” Young says. “Who is there to trust in this town?”

    ==================================

    http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/fracking-whats-killing-the-babies-of-vernal-utah-20150622

    Reply
  32. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 28, 2015

    This map shows changes in the aragonite saturation level of ocean surface waters between the 1880s and the most recent decade (2004–2013). Aragonite is a form of calcium carbonate that many marine animals use to build their skeletons and shells. The lower the saturation level, the more difficult it is for organisms to build and maintain their skeletons and shells. A negative change represents a decrease in saturation.

    Reply
  33. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 28, 2015

    This figure shows the relationship between changes in ocean carbon dioxide levels (measured in the left column as a partial pressure—a common way of measuring the amount of a gas) and acidity (measured as pH in the right column). The data come from two observation stations in the North Atlantic Ocean (Canary Islands and Bermuda) and one in the Pacific (Hawaii). The up-and-down pattern shows the influence of seasonal variations.

    Reply
    • As someone who has learned to expect media to ignore or downplay climate change, I am still amazed at how thoroughly ocean acidification is ignored by almost everyone. This has the potential to devastate ocean ecosystems, and we are observing the early warning signs of that right now. How is it that only a handful of people around the country are concerned with losing all of the things we depend on the oceans for!? Are we so delusional that we no longer think we require food and oxygen? The worst are the deniers who insist the oceans can’t become more acidic because they’re not acid, which is like saying you can’t go slower because you’re going fast.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 29, 2015

        Ryan,

        I share your concern for the oceans, as I’m sure everyone here does. As a New Englander, you probably love sea food, as I do – and each time I have a great scallop, lobster or striped bass dinner on Cape Cod or the seacoast, I’m aware that future generations may very well not be able to enjoy these foods. Instead, people better get used to a menu of jellyfish – perhaps some ARE edible😦

        Reply
  34. Hello Robert
    I just finished translating this fine article of your and posted it on my blog.
    http://leclimatoblogue.blogspot.ca/2015/06/secheresses-en-serie.html
    Thank you for your work and cooperation.
    Have a nice day, you made a blogger and his French readers happy.

    Reply
  35. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 28, 2015

    DT and anyone else in PNW, hope you stay cool today. Looks roasty.

    Reply
    • Very rough day. Heat and fires both. The Alaska total is at 1.4 million acres now. Looks like we are heading toward a worst or second worst June on record for acres burned. 319 fires still active. Number of new fires over past 24 hours is down to 3 thankfully. So we may be close to peak for the current outburst.

      Reply
  36. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 28, 2015

    Current Fire Map courtesy Alaska Forestry

    Reply
    • Holy shit! Now that is a striking image.

      Reply
      • And, coincident with today’s heatwave, fires are really starting to light off in the northwest territory as well.

        Reply
      • 108 degrees in Washington right now.

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  June 28, 2015

        Some of these are getting pretty big. Once they pass a threshold they create their own weather. At that point there is really not much that can be done.

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  June 29, 2015

        Was just looking at satellite images from yesterday, NWT has a huge number of fires kicking up as Robert mentioned. And not small ones.

        Reply
    • They had some rain during the weekend, providing only SOME relief. Record year in Alaska was in 2004. Let’s if the record holds!

      Alex

      Reply
    • Thanks, Andy.
      The graphic should be the backdrop for all newscasts in the PNW and West Coast as a possible precursor for things to come.

      Reply
  37. It is hot unseasonably hot here in PDX. The average citizen is nonplussed or unconnected with these ominous conditions. PDXers by the multitudes are either filling the air and their lungs with tobacco smoke, gross polluting and climate killing junkers, clunkers, muscle cars and trucks are aggressively committing public mayhem — as well as the power mowers and blowers. Only a responsive US Congress can stop this mayhem.

    – More on this later but bees are dying. Immature pears, plums, apples, and cherries are falling out of there environmentally stressed trees. Almost every property lot in my area has trees, shrubs,and flowers which show extreme but not drought related dehydrated stresses. Though many look like they have been air fried or baked.

    Reply
    • Dead fall of immature cherries that now resemble dried raisons. June 21, 2015, Portland, OR. DT LANGE CC 4.0

      Reply
  38. A bumble bee, possibly disoriented, or in pain, or unable to fly as nature and its genetic coding intended skitters over some pebbles under a linden tree in the
    Rose City of Portland, Oregon, USA — June 25, 2015.

    Reply
  39. Phil

     /  June 29, 2015

    Some interesting news reported today in Australian press: – key business groups, welfare group, trade unions and environment groups have got together to form a group calling for more action on climate change and are trying to get Abbott to come up with meaningful post 2020 emission targets.. Will be interesting to see what happens, Still plenty deniers in the Government however. Details contained in: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4263440.htm.

    Also report of recent downgrade of credit rating for Peabody in USA, including details of 70% fall in its share price. See:http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/peabody-shares-dive-after-moodys-cuts-biggest-us-coal-miners-credit-rating-20150628-gi05r5.html
    .

    Reply
    • Huge shift in investment from coal to wind and solar this year. I wonder how that pill will go down for the fossil fuel cheerleaders.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  June 29, 2015

        Here, they wanted to decimate the renewables sector. They were able to reduce the overall target from 41 TWh to 33 TWh by 2020 but could not go further because of political opposition and support for renewables by public. They wanted to really get rid of support for rooftop solar but that was too potentially politically costly so they turned on large scale wind – e.g. concerned about heal aspects of wind but not polluting coal generators.

        How will things play out – El Nino might have a role here. If the heat wave conditions hitting India and Pakistan hit Australia, I would imagine public would fully come on board about dangers of climate change. Time will tell.

        Since revised and lower renewable energy target was passed, a new wind farm has obtained financial close and will now move to the building stage – around 240MW at Ararat in Victoria. With the reduced target, more windfarms with planning approval than is needed to meet the target so will be a premium on getting your project to financial closure before the target is fully exhausted.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  June 29, 2015

        Robert, this kind of paper out of Stanford, a roadmap for 100% renewables by 2050 for every U.S. state, must make them race to take showers to get all that sunshine out of their butts and wind out of their coiffed hair:

        http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

        Reply
        • That is a darn good plan, Greg. We need to implement as much of it as swiftly as possible. Note that 100 percent renewables roadmap by 2050 (replicated globally) is still a pathway to RCP 4.5 (450 ppm CO2, 550 ppm CO2e). Much better than business as usual. But a serious crisis nonetheless. If we truly respected climate change, we’d be fighting to hit this goal as soon as possible — 2040 or even 2030. I think that would be due urgency. And we would still face some tough times even then.

          Each second we delay a more rapid response now, we lock in a worse situation. We really, really need to get on this.

          So yes, I am glad to see coal starting to go. But we are late in the game, the political powers supporting fossil fuels are still too influential, and the delays to action still keep coming from far too many quarters. I think we can manage a response, but we aren’t anywhere near on the fighting line yet. The minor victories are heartening. But 50 billion tons of CO2e hitting the atmosphere every year is the very picture of ‘still losing the war.’ That number needs to fall — and fast.

        • This is a fantastic plan that everyone should have jumped on and tried to figure out how to speed up as much as possible. I’m just afraid we haven’t arrived at the point yet where everyone realizes these kinds of plans are urgently needed. Where nations are fighting this crisis full bore.

  40. Ann

     /  June 29, 2015

    More for your list, Colorado Bob:

    Diseases, conditions and parasites will move further north and/or south and up in altitude, into populations that have never before seen them.

    Climate refugees will overwhelm countries closer to the poles.

    Resource wars will intensify as competition for dwindling commodities such as water and arable land become paramount.

    Reply
  41. Greg

     /  June 29, 2015

    Terrifying indeed. One day in the near future we will look back at fracking and ask what did we do? Along with such obvious inanity like mountain top removal, countless generations will suffer under the results…

    Reply
    • The insanity is that we are still delaying a necessarily rapid transition away from fossil fuels, that we don’t have a global plan to increase resiliency in the face of the climate change we’ve already locked, that we don’t have resources allocated to help the victims and to stem the nation-crushing tide of refugees by reducing desperation as much as possible. That we don’t have whole battalions of scientists aimed at preserving critical species. That we don’t have local, state, and national plans for phased withdrawal from coastlines. That we don’t have state, local, and national plans for the droughts, water shortages, deluges, and wildfires that will surely come. And that so much of our society remains devoted to the wasteful excess of consumerism and of the exploitative and inequality generating economics that support it. We are going into a severe crisis and we have decided to basically keep making it worse and to unequip ourselves of the tools needed to deal with it. We’re still living away what could be the last days of civilization in the grips of the most odd, yet tragically human, kind of insanity imaginable. The insanity that comes from the base worship of money.

      Reply
  42. Greg

     /  June 29, 2015

    A first in my view, a post Papal Encyclic authoritative opinion piece calling, as a moral imperative, for America to take in the millions of future climate refugees because, well America is mostly responsible for them:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-the-worst-polluter-in-the-history-of-the-world-we-should-let-climate-change-refugees-resettle-here/2015/06/25/28a55238-1a9c-11e5-ab92-c75ae6ab94b5_story.html?hpid=z6

    Reply
    • They’re coming here and everywhere else there’s any shred of decent resources left. They’ll be coming whether we want them or not. They’re coming already to the U.S. To Europe. To India. To Australia. To New Zealand. But what we see now are but the first small waves of a rising tide.

      Reply
  43. Wharf Rat

     /  June 29, 2015

    Not from the Onion, but you can file this under: OMG; are you effin’ kidding me?

    Rick Santorum: Redirect global warming effort to fighting gay marriage ‘for the survival of our country’
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/rick-santorum-redirect-global-warming-effort-to-fighting-gay-marriage-for-the-survival-of-our-country/

    When he comes here, Pope San Francisco needs to call Rick in , and threaten him with excommunication.

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  June 29, 2015

    Scientists Detect Mysterious Warming in U.S. Coastal Waters

    LONDON—Oceanographers are puzzled by an accelerated burst of warming sea that threatens the fisheries of the American Atlantic coast.

    Meanwhile, off the US West coast, scientists report that they have been baffled by a mysterious “blob” of water up to 4°C warmer than the surrounding Pacific, linked to weird weather across the entire country.

    Jacob Forsyth and research colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts report in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans that the ocean off the US north-east continental shelf has been warming at unprecedented levels for 13 years.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/scientists_detect_mysterious_warming_in_us_coastal_waters_20150628

    Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  June 29, 2015

    Retreating sea ice linked to changes in ocean circulation, could affect European climate

    Retreating sea ice in the Iceland and Greenland Seas may be changing the circulation of warm and cold water in the Atlantic Ocean, and could ultimately impact the climate in Europe, says a new study by an atmospheric physicist from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and his colleagues in Great Britain, Norway and the United States.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  June 29, 2015

    Unprecedented June Heat in Northwest U.S. Caused by Extreme Jet Stream Pattern

    By: Jeff Masters

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3029

    Reply
  47. The Amazon rain forest south of the Amazon River has stopped doing its transpiration thing:

    http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/geo/index.php?satellite=east&channel=wv&coverage=fd&file=gif&imgoranim=8&anim_method=flash

    I lived in the interior of Bahia from 1997 to 2011, so I saw the El Nino-induced drought at that time (not a speck of green anywhere — even the cacti turned brown, died and fell over). I was there in 2001 when the entire country was told to cut back 20% on electricity or be fined, I saw whole towns run out of water. Where I lived it was normal not to have any water pressure from the mains during the day, and then it would come on two or three nights a week. People living in houses generally had a water tank built at least 3 meters off the ground. I was lucky because the house I lived in had one of the biggest water towers I had ever seen, and it would fill at night.

    But last year in southeastern Bahia, the drought was even worse, and the population in the area had doubled since 1997. The plans to pipe in water from other sources had stayed in the drawer (or the money got “diverted”).

    People often forget that deforestation began in Brazil more than 500 years ago, when the Portuguese arrived. The state of Bahia is 50% larger than California, as is the state south of it, Minas Gerais. These two states were covered in the semi-temperate forest — and that is almost entirely gone now.

    The old timers told me that the rainy season where I lived had been 5 months long 50 years ago. By the time I left, we were lucky if it was 3 months.

    Reply
  1. The Hothouse Yet Worsens — Japan Meteorological Agency Shows June of 2015 Tops Out a Century of Heating | robertscribbler

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